It has been a difficult year for recruitment. As the British Chamber of Commerce reported back in January, 79% of companies were facing difficulties recruiting staff. As businesses began to emerge from the global pandemic, and with restrictions easing, the demand for new hires surged across all sectors. For the first time in living memory, there were more job vacancies than unemployed people in the UK. It’s a candidate-driven market, but there just isn’t enough candidates to go around.

This talent shortage is being driven by multiple factors – a reluctance to leave current roles amidst all the uncertainty, a decline in the number of EU candidates who returned home – either because of the pandemic or Brexit – and who now cannot or will not return because of visa issues, younger people choosing to stay in education, and of course the great resignation.

Beyond these issues, it’s also because top talent is being snapped up at a quicker rate, with new research showing that the most qualified candidates are only on the market for 10 days before being hired.

All of this adds up to a situation where organisations are struggling to attract and recruit employees. Businesses are seeing their workforce shrink as a result. Recruiters must adapt to hire skilled workers.

It’s possible to still recruit the right talent, even in the present candidate shortage, but employers must change tweak their tactics and adopt the right strategies.

How to Hire Quality Candidates during a Talent Shortage

Work on Your Employer Brand

Your brand as an employer encompasses your reputation and how you are perceived by the public. Building and promoting this brand is a core part of recruitment marketing, with 80% of talent acquisition managers agreeing that a strong employer brand has a major impact on an organisations ability to attract and recruit the best talent.

Central to your employer brand is your company’s culture. According to Glassdoor, more than 50% of employees place more value on culture than even salary – while companies with weaker and less dynamic cultures are having to pay higher salaries.

Building the right culture and promoting it as part of your employer branding strategy gives organisations a major competitive advantage in the race to hire the best applicants.

Reduce Time-to-Hire

A swift hiring process keeps applicants engaged, providing insight into how a company values its employees and their time.

According to LinkedIn, the average time-to-hire in the UK is around 41 days – this is more than four times longer than the average amount of time top candidates are available on the market before finding a new role. Competing for the best talent means reducing time-to-hire.

The quickest route to cut down hiring time and improve your recruitment is to invest in an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). With the Hireserve ATS, companies can use the candidate screening tool to quickly eliminate the candidates who are a bad fit and make faster decision making around who to bring forward to the interview stage.

Other tools, such as the self-select interview tool, allow applicants to select the best time for their own interviews, making the process of arranging interviews more efficient and more engaging.

Keeping the recruitment process as short and efficient as possible and being able to make prompt offers to applicants is key to avoid missing out on the best talent.

Manage your Talent Pool

During a talent shortage, businesses can ill-afford to merely post a vacancy and wait for the applicants to come to them. The key to recruiting in the current landscape lies with taking a more proactive, outbound approach to sourcing candidates and building a talent pool – a network of potential applicants – before even advertising for a role within your business.

A talent pool is a database of candidates who have the necessary skills and experience to work for your organisation. Creating and managing a talent pool is necessary for recruiters looking to make the hiring process more efficient and attract the best talent.

Hireserve ATS contains features to help you manage that talent pool, and automate much of the process of building out this database. Create talent pools based on specific criteria including skills, experience, or location, and engage with students and graduates who represent the future of the workforce.

Use social media platforms such as LinkedIn to source passive candidates – those who are not currently looking for a job – as well as manage your previous applicants.  Automate communication with these candidates to stay in touch and remain on their mind ,and allow candidates to update their information themselves through the candidate portal.

This activity will help to ensure that you have a warm list of potential applicants ready to be approached when you advertise your latest vacancy, increasing your hiring efficiency.

Prioritise Diversity and Inclusivity

A talent shortage can also highlight that the fact that hiring criteria can be too strict, too rigid, and not open to the full diversity of candidates available. Often, this is owing to a failure of policy and a result of unconscious bias.

Not only that, but research shows that companies that commit to diversity and inclusivity initiatives are better able to attract the best talent. A further study from McKinsey also highlighted that:

  • Organisations in the top 25% for ethnic diversity were 33% more likely to have above-average profits
  • Those in the top 25% for gender diversity were 21% more likely to have achieved above average profits
  • Ethnically diverse boards were 43% more likely to make bolder decisions and record higher profits

Its clear that the benefits of prioritising D&I go beyond hiring during a talent shortage, but businesses need to ensure that they are not limiting themselves in their talent search by excluding – consciously or unconsciously – a diverse range of applicants.

Research has shown that CVs with white-sounding names are more likely to be put forward for interviews than CV’s with names that are African, Asian, or Hispanic. With the CV anonymisation tool in Hireserve ATS, hiring managers can remove any potential for unconscious bias or discrimination and ensure that the right candidate is hired based on their skills and experience, rather than any other factor.

Hireserve ATS has the tools to improve your ability to hire the best talent, even when there is a shortage of candidates. If you’re ready to find out more, book a demo to see the impact Hireserve can have on your recruitment.

About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.